I fear for sport.
I don’t mean that I shake, lose sleep and worry in order to make a smoothie from my competitive juices.
No, I simply worry that certain activities are so desperate to be classified as a sport that they will go to lengths that are, frankly, painful.
The latest — and, perhaps, lowest — form of human movement that is desperate to be deemed sporting is cheerleading.
Cheerleading is to sport what manning a concession stand is to the cinema.
It actually involves turning your back on a game being played, in order to remind those who are watching that they are supposed to watch loudly.
It comprises movements even dancing would reject.
Indeed, it comprises movements even “Dancing With The Stars” would deem unseemly.
Cheerleading requires more false smiles than a first date, more leg kicks than are often seen at Radio City Hall and more appalling clothing than you’ve ever seen in, say, Wichita, Kansas.
Some cheerleaders even spend their time clutching what looks like a papier-mache megaphone.
And these people want classification alongside Muhammad Ali, Peyton Manning and Lionel Messi?
These people think they’re worthy of the same designation as LeBron James?
Please forgive what seems like excessive fulmination on my part. It is, in fact, exultation, as I’ve received word from Fox Sports that a judge in Connecticut has slapped down the very idea that cheerleading is, should be or even can be a sport.
It seems that Quinnipiac University had petitioned the court that cheerleading was a legitimate sport. Why would it do this? So that it could do away with its women’s volleyball team.
It’s lovely. But it isn’t sport.
Please consider that for a moment.
A bunch of ill-dressed soi-disant dancers were being presented as a legitimate alternative to people who set a ball, spike a ball and roll around on hard surfaces in an attempt to prevent that ball from hitting the ground.
The cheerleading team had been renamed “Acrobatics and Tumbling.”
This is like deciding to call sitting “Hip-Flexing.”
This is like deciding to call nose-picking “Corporal Archaeology.”
The judge was clearly bound by certain technicalities, some of them legal. He noted that there was, as yet, no NCAA “Acrobatics and Tumbling” championship.
Those who observe the nauseating piousness of that organization must wonder how the idea for such a championship could have escaped it.
If even the NCAA, with its pitiful money-grabbing ways, doesn’t recognize your activity as a sport, then no amount of human pyramidding can make it so.
Cheerleading is for those people who think synchronized swimming is too daring and taste is for those who might be termed French.
It is for those who see Xanax in their near-future and Ritalin in their recent past or present.
A cheerleader is someone who wants to organize a party, but fears that no one will come.
So instead, she (or, in some cases, he) puts on clothing designed by a blind, drunk St. Bernard, twists their face into a smile perfected by Stepford Wives and brush salesmen and shouts the same thing over and over again, in the hope that someone will listen.
It’s true that some NBA teams, in particular, have tried to bring cheerleading past the early 20th century.
It’s also true that an NBA cheerleader was the first “Bachelorette.”
I know and even respect that cheerleaders enjoy themselves, create camaraderie and all order the same cocktails in bars.
It is, in its way, entertainment. But this is not to be confused with sport.
In sport, you get hurt trying to win. In cheerleading, you get funny looks trying to be taken seriously.
As I’m sure US District Court Judge Stefan R. Underhill offered on hearing some of the enthusiastic arguments of the “Cheerleading Is A Sport” cabal.